[Teri Ooms (executive director of the Institute For Policy and Economic Development)] concedes there is no specific research into reasons for the migration of which she is aware. But a closer look at the migration trends suggests that it was really the cost of living that drove New Yorkers and New Jersey residents to uproot and move west, she said.“People started leaving New York in the early ’90s and moving to New Jersey. The impetus was the cost of living – specifically housing,” Ooms said.But then as housing prices began to rise in New Jersey, both New York and New Jersey residents began moving to the “outer rings” of Pennsylvania – the Poconos – in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Ooms said.By 2002, those outer rings expanded and more of Northeastern Pennsylvania became home to the migrating Easterners through 2008.“Then the recession hit. And while migration here was still positive, it was not as great,” Ooms said.Luzerne and Lackawanna counties are now on that outer rim of migration that Ooms doesn’t expect to extend much if any farther west, given the two-hour or longer commute for people who live here but still work in New York or New Jersey.
You can read the report for Luzerne County here. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is a good example of proximity benefits. Being within commuting distance to a global city such as New York is great fortune. With all due respect to Mayor Cory Booker, Newark doesn't revitalize if it were located on the Ohio River.
Cities effectively in the middle of nowhere are the stars of economic redevelopment (e.g. Denver, Omaha, and Kansas City). Even Pittsburgh enjoys a proximity dividend thanks to its strong ties with Washington, DC. Relationships with other cities are critical to any region's good fortune.
The primary linkage with another metro is migration. I've been developing a way to measure the strength of this connectivity so cities such as Cleveland might leverage outmigration. The most important urban pairing isn't always as stark as Pittsburgh-DC. For Cleveland, the debate is between Chicago and New York City. Which destination is more important for native Cleveland talent?
Answering that question is key for Cleveland's talent attraction strategy. I recommend focusing on one metro for engineering migration ( a la East Coast Connected focusing on Atlantic Canadian expats in Toronto). It's a matter of best using scarce resources (most of the money is going to retention and brain drain boondoggles) and the time-intensive nature of building an effective network. The result mimics the proximity dividend spilling over to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton from New York City.